Alaska Health Fair Fairbanks Office held a few special health screening days during October.  Though these dates weren’t open to the public, we invited a few groups to receive FREE Bone Density Screenings; which included Fairbanks North Star Borough, United Way of the Tanana Valley Member Agencies and Fairbanks Community Food Bank employees; and performing 40 ultrasounds in the process.  We hope to have similar office days that will be open to the public during Spring 2022 and hoping to return to doing health screenings at community and worksite events.

We held this special event on two Thursdays, Oct. 21st & 28th from 9 am to 5 pm.  Clients arrived at their convenience, no appointment was necessary with no lines or waiting.  Clients averaged 10 minutes in our offices, receiving a Bone Density Ultrasound with results immediately printed out from our GE Healthcare Achilles XPII Ultrasound, plus their personal pulse rate, oxygen and BMI results – along with health education.  They were then asked to take the data to their next doctor’s appointment.

Bone Density issues are very important, especially in the state of Alaska.  Our bodies receive Vitamin D through food and sunlight, yet living in northern climes and getting that “sunlight fix” year round proves problematic.  Older people over 65 and those with darker skin also have problems getting enough Vitamin D.  Many times this can be resolved through dietary changes, taking a good multi-vitamin, adding the additional Vitamin D capsule or tablet, or even getting outside to exercise and getting sunlight simultaneously.  In some cases, deficiencies can lead to being prescribed higher mega-doses of Vitamin D, after consultations with your physician; and, without treatment, advanced cases can lead to thin, brittle or misshapen bones and bone density issues. It is important to take care of your bone health before serious problems arise.

The Golden Valley Good Cents Program granted funds for a $12,000 Ultrasound in Fall 2016, with the machine arriving in January 2017 and being active ever since.  It has been a huge success, as we have performed thousands of screenings in the Northern Region.  This has helped many local residents, as they can receive free bone health screenings and then seek medical consultation with more in-depth screenings and treatments through their physician if necessary.

The individuals shown in our picture are Carrie Carnes, FNSB Human Resources Benefits Administrator and the person who coordinated the FNSB Employee and Family Worksite Health Fair on September 25th; in addition to Ron Phillips, Volunteer Coordinator for the Tanana Valley/Northern Region Program which is located in the Fairbanks Office.

Submitted by Sharon Phillips,  Tanana Valley/Northern Region Program Director, Alaska Health Fair